Our Schools, Our Kids, Our Future
21st Century Schools . . .
During the recent Texas Association of School Administrators Mid-Winter Conference that I attended with thousands of other administrators, most of the sessions revolved around school transformation and developing learners who are ready for careers in the 21st Century. How do we develop students for current positions when we have very little information about the many newly created jobs in today’s society? How can we possibly prepare students for careers that are not yet invented? As educators, we are collaborating with community members to successfully solve these and other current questions.
We do not need to read all the recent research to support what we already know - students learn differently today than they did while you or I were in school. This phenomenon can be observed in schools today on a daily basis. Students now have the ability to gather information much faster than teachers can teach it. They can multi-task and learn much more than we ever could. Their aptitude to learn through a variety of mediums is conducive to preparing students for jobs that will be available when they graduate from high school or college. Rather than rote memorization of facts, it is now more important for us to teach students how to locate information and then how to utilize this knowledge to collaborate, solve problems, and to think critically.
In addition to being able to facilitate student learning, educators must be able to inspire students to learn. Educational leaders agree that the teacher is the single most important facet of a good education. While support from home is extremely helpful, classroom teachers make the biggest difference in whether a child can be successful in school. As educators, we must continue to look for a hook to entice students to want to learn and then be facilitators of that learning. Parents are still encouraged to be partners in this evolving type of student learning.
Modern technology entices and interests most students these days even though it cannot replace the teacher. With a majority of students, it is that relationship with the teacher that motivates him/her to learn and technology can be a tool to facilitate what is being learned and help prepare them for the 21st Century. A good teacher is still a good teacher and technology is one of many tools which teachers can utilize to reach students.
Many schools are now changing the look of classrooms because some students learn better in a variety of environments. Building new schools equipped with technology and learning centers rather than all traditional classrooms is another avenue in which districts are moving. Having innovative buildings and structures in place can also help to prepare students for the 21st Century and can also assist educators with motivating and preparing students. Environments must be conducive for learning communication skills, how to collaborate, how to think critically and to enhance creativity.
Many, many strategies can be put into place for districts to develop students to be ready for 21st Century careers. On March 24th at 6:00pm, PISD will be hosting an Education Summit. This will be a time where parents, community members, businesses, educators and students can come together to collaborate on what 21st Century Learning should look like in Palacios. We would like input from the public and staff about the vision of education for our Palacios students. Please join us. Information about the summit will be available on the PISD website and in the Palacios Beacon.